4 hit combo against MPAA, RIAA, DRM, etc.
[Non Existing Law]

The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) commissioned an independent study performed by POLLARA Inc. They produce a 144 page report which basically concludes that the downloading of music via P2P networks tend to increase the purchasing of CDs, rather than decrease them. Actually, the biggest offenders in the lack of CD sales seem to be traditional radio stations.

  • Four-fifths (83%) of 18 to 24 year olds agree that they hear some songs so much on the radio that they either don't have to or don't want to buy the albums (compared to 59% of the rest of Canadians).
  • Two-thirds (65%) of 18 to 24 year olds agree that the radio stations in their area don't play enough music from local artists (compared to 48% of the rest of Canadians).
  • 84% of 18 to 24 year olds agree that they would like to hear more music from emerging or new Canadian artists on their local radio station (compared to 69% of the rest of Canadians).
  • The vast majority (87%) of 18 to 24 year olds agree that radio stations in their area tend to play the same music hits all the time (compared to 69% of the rest of Canadians).
CRIA Consumer Study of Radio and Music Survey Results, Page 11

The focus lies on the 18 to 24 year olds, because the study deemed this demographic to be "critical" to the future of the music industry.

Throughout the report, it will become evident that the 13 to 24 year olds (in particular, those between 18 and 24) make up a "fragile" market for both radio and music.

  • Their radio listening has declined in the past few years, and time spent with radio is clearly impacted by their increased use of MP3 players and computer listening. In addition, they are the most likely to participate in P2P music downloading.
  • Given that they will soon make up the 25 to 54 high value "ad market", they will have a critical bearing on radio's success in the next 5 to 10 years, and the success of the music industry in marketing new Canadian talent.
CRIA Consumer Study of Radio and Music Survey Results, Page 7

On page 70 of the report, there's a bar chart showing that most Canadians do buy a copy of a track or album after having downloaded it from a P2P service (74%).

On page 95 of the report, there's a bar chart showing the reasons given for purchasing fewer CDs. The top two reasons are that CDs are too expensive, and that they suck. The fact that they could get music for free was only a deterrent for 10% of Canadians.

1 hit.

There was a panel at the SXSW Interactive 2006 convention called "The Future of Darknets". During the actual panel, however, almost nothing was said about the darknets, because the audience became extremely aggressive against the panelist the moment she said "Hello, my name is Kori Bernards, and I'm from the Motion Picture Association of America."

The audience was filled with other examples of an industry gone crazy. One guy moved to the UK and all his DVDs stopped working because they were region-encoded (as most are). Her answer? That was in the contract you agreed to when you bought the DVD. Another guy asked why he can't just download the Sopranos. After all, he's a HBO subscriber, so he paid for it, he just happened to miss the last episode. Her answer, again, was that the time is part of the contract. My answer: Give it a couple years and HBO will be doing this, or they'll be out of business.

Another audience member said she worked at a small film studio, doing clearances for copyrighted works to appear in movies (simply having a movie on in the background of another movie requires a release, at least according to the MPAA) and most of the time the artists involved all said it was fine - it was the studio lawyers who stood in the way.

And that's really the problem, isn't it? There are these industries of middlemen — RIAA, MPAA — that claim to "protect artists" but what they're really protecting is themselves. Artists (and I include myself in that word) need to rise up and tell these people to go get stuffed. We can decide when a mashup is perfectly fine with us. We can decide to embrace file traders to build awareness of our work. We don't need you anymore. You're just holding us back.

2 hits.

As you may have heard, DRM can sometimes cause problems on your computer. Video games with the StarForce DRM, for example, are reputed to damage your CD drive, preventing you from being able to ever burn a CD again (including if you're simply burning content you legally own, e.g. family pictures). Perhaps more famous is Sony's Rootkit DRM, which allowed an attacker to gain access and control of your computer over the Internet if you simply inserted one of Sony's music CDs into your computer.

Well, people who work for the government and the military also occasionally enjoy listening to music, and they too have inserted Sony CDs into their computers, only to have the military and governmental network security systems now compromised and open to attacks from opposing nations, terrorists, you name it.

Recent events demonstrate that technological protection measures can threaten critical infrastructure. Misguided efforts to cloak technological protection measures from consumers have in fact created computer security vulnerabilities worldwide, including on government and military systems. Computer security and other mission critical applications that protect critical infrastructure must not be compromised by technological protection measures. Where such measures threaten critical infrastructure and potentially endanger lives, prohibiting their circumvention – if only to disable or remove them – is an absurd result that Congress could not have intended. A temporary exemption to circumvent dangerous access control measures so as to make the non-infringing use of disabling or deleting these measures or the underlying work which they are meant to protect is therefore necessary.

The CCIA has filed a document to the US government requesting that the DRM laws be amended so that it is legal to uninstall DRM software in the case where such software could endanger innocent lives. Here's the scenario that the CCIA are pointing out is absurd:

A technician at a nuclear silo is sitting around, waiting for the order from the chief to press the "launch nuclear missiles" button. So far, that hasn't happened in over 30 years. It's a pretty cushy job. The technician is relaxing, listening to some music. A buddy comes over and tells him "Hey, what's that you're listening to?" The tech replies "Oh, that's just my favorite song from this album I just got, produced by Sony." The buddy replies "Hey, I heard that some Sony CDs carry a virus or something." The tech replies "What? Let me look that up on Google... Hmm! You're right. Well, that's okay, this site has a download with step by step instructions on how to remove it."

Just then, the captain in charge of this station, who was listening in, interrupts. "Not so fast there, buddy! It's illegal to remove this DRM under US laws." Suddenly, sirens go off, and red lights are flashing. "What's going on?" says the buddy. The tech starts typing wildly at the console. "Some hacker has broken into our system and is launching a missle attack against Russia! We've got to stop him." "Uh uh uh!" interjects the captain, "Not so fast. First we have to file a request with the RIAA to gain permission to uninstall the DRM." "What's the RIAA got to do with this," asks the tech. "This is a Sony product." "I'm just trying to drop as many names into this contrived example as possible," replies the captain. "Here, fill out these forms in triplicate."

Well, the technician can't disobey a commanding officer, so he fills in the forms, and submits them. The reply comes back from the RIAA. "We are sorry to inform you that we are denying your request to uninstall the DRM."

Yeah, that's right. The RIAA is opposing this amendment proposal from the CCIA.

no exemption in this area would be workable. Even if there were agreement on examples of sound recordings that fell within the defined "particular class of works" in the past, the application of that definition to future examples would be inherently subjective and unpredictable. Who would decide, to use the language of submission 6, if a particular access control measure "jeopardizes the security of a computer," or if "conspicuous notice and explicit consent" have been obtained in connection with the installation or running of the software involved?

In other words, the RIAA claims that mission-critical systems should NOT be exempt from uninstalling DRMs, because it is subjective as to whether the person who installed the DRM in the first place consented to the installation. "Hey, maybe the tech agreed to allow hackers hack into the missle launch program when he placed the audio CD in the computer, and maybe he didn't agree. It's impossible to tell. Therefore, it's illegal to uninstall the DRM."

3 hits.

"DRM will never work", say the pirates, "because no matter what kind of protection they put on the DVD or whatever, we can always just play the DVD on a TV, and then point a digital camcorder at the TV to record whatever it is we see."

"Oh yeah?" says the RIAA.

The RIAA is pushing a legislation to close the so-called "Analog Hole". When you play a protected movie on the TV, the TV will emit infrared signals. If you point a cam-corder to that TV, the cam-corder will detect these infrared signals, and refuse to record the content.

"Well, that's fine," say the pirates. "We'll just buy TVs that don't emit those signals, or camcorders which don't understand this signal.

"Oh yeah?" says the RIAA.

The RIAA is pushing a legislation through congress that will make it illegal to manufacturer, distribute or sale, any TV, camcorder, VCR, DVD player, or any other such device, which does not cover the "Analog Hole" as of 2008.

No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise traffic in any analog video input device that converts into digital form an analog video signal that is received in a covered format, or an analog video signal in a covered format that is read from a prerecorded medium, unless any portions of that device that are designed to access, record, or pass the content of the analog video signal within that device detect and respond to the rights signaling system with respect to a particular work by conforming the copying and redistributing of that work to the information contained in the rights signaling system for that work in accordance with the compliance rules set forth in section 201 and the robustness rules referred to in section 202.

Pretty crazy, huh? Anyway, a representative from the MPAA gave a speech to a group of movie industry folks. Ars Technica has an excellent writeup, so I'll quote it here.

His topic? Filling the so-called analog hole, which allows users to move content between devices in accord with fair use, but is also seen as a front for piracy in defiance of digital rights management (DRM) plans. Although Hunt's position at the podium could probably be described as preaching to the choir, his comments were surprisingly not well-received.

Hunt talked up current legislation that would attempt to close the analog hole by adding a signal to analog content which would prevent recording of that content by any devices aware of the signal. The legislation would also make it illegal to sell or create any devices which bypass that signal-awareness.

The industry hopes those schemes will be easy for consumers to use. But when Hunt took questions from the audience, it was clear they were skeptical.

One questioner asked who would be responsible for the extensive consumer education needed. Hunt's answer — that he hoped retailers would do it — drew dubious groans.


The final question summed up the problem: "This is a room full of people whose living depends on this working. You're getting pushback to the point of hostility. If you can't sell this to us, how are you going to sell it to the target 16-45 demographic?"

Hunt said the marketplace would ultimately sort it out.

4 hit combo.

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1. Leafy Person said:
Great post!!
Posted on Sat March 18th, 2006, 5:25 PM EST acknowledged

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